philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


CES: Examining the Results of the Radical Disruption of News

CES_2018_Shapiro_Fischer_Weinstein“The Future of News” panel at CES 2018 drew together pundits across the political spectrum to puzzle out the difference between news and opinion, what exactly fake news is, and how to pop the partisan bubbles. A conversation led by United Talent Agency head of digital media Brent Weinstein started his challenge to define the line between news and opinion — if consumers even care. The Daily Wire editor-in-chief and conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro said that the news media should not portray itself as objective.

“News reporters can’t remove their biases,” he said. His colleague on the left, Thiel Capital managing director Eric Weinstein, PhD, agreed. “I don’t think it hinges on fact-based versus opinion-based,” he said. “There is no known way of producing news that is simply fact-based. The question is if we can unspin the news that we are given.”

Shapiro drew a distinction between facts versus arguing over opinions. “Once you label an opinion as fake news, we’re arguing over opinions,” he said. “I would like to relegate fake news to just that, not an opinion that you find unpalatable.”

Eric Weinstein believes we should apply the term “fake news” more broadly. “The taxonomy I have is that it’s the algorithm, narrative-driven and just false, and false is the least interesting,” he said. “After the election, there was a sudden mania over fake news that I find incredibly inauthentic. Everyone is now a conspiracy theorist. Where did this fake news thing explode from? It doesn’t feel real. We’re out of control and it’s more important to go after the narrative driven and algorithmic.”

Shapiro agreed, saying that, “actual fake news is actually small.” “People give Google enormous amounts of power to curb what they don’t like,” he said.

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